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 October 14, 2009
Clean Tech Job Trends 2009

 As the ’green jobs’ trend evolves from political platform to economic reality, the industry driving it - clean tech - is becoming one of the country’s key markets for growth and job creation.

In its first look at the state of clean-tech jobs in the U.S. and globally, Clean Edge, Inc., a leading clean-tech research and publishing firm, today releases Clean Tech Job Trends 2009.

The report provides an insightful and compelling investigation of how these jobs are changing the face of industry, where the hotbeds of growth exist, and whether current clean-tech salaries are living up to their ’green-over blue-collar’ promise.

In the report, job seekers, employers, investors, and policymakers have access to data including: clean-tech hot spots and leading companies in the U.S. and around the globe; the top five clean-tech job sectors; a study of median clean-tech compensation levels; five trends reshaping clean tech; and emerging models for financing clean-tech growth.

According to Clean Edge research, the top 15 metro areas in the U.S. for clean-tech job activity, based on an analysis of job postings, investment and patent activity, and other data, include the San Francisco Bay Area at #1, Greater Boston/southern New Hampshire at #4; Denver/northern Colorado at #6; Austin-San Marcos, Texas at #12; and Detroit-Ann Arbor, Michigan at #14. (Complete results available in free downloadable report).

"Unlike the early days of computers and IT, the clean-tech economy is a highly dispersed phenomenon, with no single place, industry, or professional demographic controlling the sector," said Ron Pernick, co-founder and managing director of Clean Edge and co-author, The Clean Tech Revolution.

"This is apparent in the formerly shuttered manufacturing facilities, often in hard-hit industrial areas, that are now opening their doors to make products like wind turbines and electric vehicle batteries. Similarly, clean-tech deployment and growth has become an economic cornerstone for nations looking to innovate and compete in the 21st century - from the likely suspects of Japan, Germany, and the U.S. to emerging powerhouses such as China, South Korea, and even oil-rich Abu Dhabi."

To bring clarity to this rapidly transforming employment landscape, the study reveals five major trends reshaping clean-tech jobs:

  • Energy Efficiency - The Most Bang For Your Buck
  • Aging Workforce, New Clean Technologies Transform Utility Industry Landscape
  • Coming to a Campus Near You: Clean-Tech Career Training
  • Clean-Tech Manufacturing Moves Near End-Use Markets
  • The Next Big Thing in IT Jobs: Networking the Grid

Clean Tech Job Trends 2009 also provides the first comprehensive look into clean-tech compensation. The report overviews a range of positions and their median pay levels worldwide, from mid-level LEED-certified architect ($58,700) and smart grid hardware design engineer ($87,700) to entry-level wind turbine technician ($52,600) and solar energy system installer ($40,000).

The survey is a coproduction of Clean Edge and PayScale, the leading online provider of employee compensation data. Founded in 2002, PayScale maintains the world’s largest database of individual compensation profiles and provides an immediate and precise snapshot of current market salaries to employees and employers. For those interested in taking the ongoing job survey or purchasing more detailed clean-tech compensation reports, visit www.cleanedge.com/payscale.

In addition to the Clean-Tech Job Trends report, Clean Edge is also releasing a companion report entitled Five Emerging U.S. Finance Models: Powering Clean-Tech Economic Growth and Job Creation.

Published in partnership with Green America (www.greenamericatoday.org), a leading green-economy organization, this report articulates that government spending alone does not drive clean-tech markets. In order for the U.S. to remain competitive with countries such as China and those in the European Union, innovative finance vehicles are imperative.

The report examines new mechanisms such as Clean Energy Victory Bonds, the Green Bank, City Funds, Federal Loan Guarantees, and Tax Credit Bonds. The report can be downloaded at http://www.cleanedge.com/ and http://www.greenamericatoday.org/.

"Clean-energy jobs are already growing faster than other sectors, but it is forecasted that we are just at the beginning of the clean-tech job creation era," says Clean Edge contributing editor Clint Wilder. "This is the greatest opportunity for wealth, job creation, and global economic competitiveness in a generation -- but we need vision, intelligence, and resources to guide our course in expanding this sector."

The following is an excerpt from Clean Tech Job Trends 2009. To read the full report, please download the PDF file by clicking on the link below.

"For nearly a decade, Clean Edge has issued its annual Clean Energy Trends report series in which we present the latest clean-energy trends; report on the current and projected size of the global market for solar, wind and biofuels; and provide insights and intelligence on the broader clean-energy market.

This year, we are launching a new report series, focusing on employment in the clean-tech industry, in which we hope to do for clean-tech jobs what we did for clean energy in our earlier reports.  

Admittedly, we aren’t alone in being interested in the topic of clean-tech jobs.  

U.S. President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao have both made clean-tech development and deployment a cornerstone of their leadership, targeting the creation of millions of new clean-tech jobs in the process. Brazil, the European Union, India, Japan, and other nations are also aggressively pursuing clean-tech job creation - investing dollars and human capital and implementing supportive policies.

And the clean-technology sector is now one of the largest recipients of venture capital (VC) dollars - alongside biotech, software, and medical devices - with clean energy alone raking in $3.35 billion in the U.S. in 2008, according to New Energy Finance. Globally, VC and private equity totaled $13.5 billion in clean-energy investments last year.  

Private investments, while declining in 2009 and certainly under pressure in the current economic climate, are creating jobs among a host of startups such as smart grid networking company Silver Spring Networks in California; high efficiency window and green building materials manufacturer Serious Materials, with plants in California and around the U.S.; and thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer Odersun in Germany.

TV stations, newspapers, and magazines across the globe are focused on the emerging phenomenon, with near daily coverage. And dozens of websites and social media outlets are now dedicated to the clean-tech jobs market, including our own jobs board, Clean Edge Jobs.  

The unprecedented level of interest and activity in clean-tech jobs is considerable, but there’s a reason for it. Many believe we are just at the beginning of the clean-tech jobs creation era, with clean tech offering the greatest opportunity for wealth and job creation (and global economic competitiveness) since the advent of the computer and the Internet.  

In the following pages we highlight five major trends that we see reshaping the clean-tech jobs landscape. These include how conservation and efficiency are creating tens of thousands of new jobs and leading the clean-tech pack; how utilities facing an aging workforce are turning to a new stable of workers trained in clean tech and the smart grid; and how new educational programs are opening up clean-tech career paths.

We then look at a number of emerging public financing models, such as Victory Bonds and the Green Bank, that could help fuel the next wave of innovation and job growth in clean tech.  

Finally, at the end of the report, we provide an online resource guide for clean-tech job seekers and employers alike - with references to clean-tech books, reports, web sites, jobs boards, job fairs, networking organizations, educational programs from trade schools to MBAs, and more. We hope that our report will be a useful annual guide to job seekers, employers, and investors as the transition to a clean-tech economy moves forward.  

Tables and Charts Include:

  • Top Clean-Tech Job Sectors
  • Top 5 Sectors for Clean-Tech Job Activity (U.S.
  • Clean-Tech Job Activity - Top 15 U.S. Metro Areas
  • A Highly Dispersed Revolution: Clean-Tech Activities Emerging in Cities Around the Globe
  • Top 10 Clean-Tech Employers (Publicly Traded Pure Plays)
  • U.S. Manufacturing Jobs in Transition

 Download full report | Charts and tables (Registration Required)

For More Information: CleanEdge